The sensations of pulmonary dyspnea

Nurs Res. May-Jun 1986;35(3):154-9.


This study compared recalled physical and emotional sensations during episodes of acute dyspnea across pulmonary disease groups. The convenience sample consisted of 68 subjects with emphysema-bronchitis, asthma, vascular, and restrictive disease. Temporal patterns of physical and emotional sensations before and during episodes of dyspnea were identified. The frequency of sensations was remarkably similar across disease categories with few significant differences identified. Rather than the disease category, the frequency, intensity, and periodicity of the symptom of dyspnea had the greatest effect on the quality and frequency of sensations reported. The intensity of usual dyspnea reported on a visual analog scale varied significantly among groups, p = .026, with asthmatics having the lowest mean score and vascular subjects the highest. Females reported significantly greater usual dyspnea than males, p = .005. The variables of pulmonary disease group, gender, fatigue, and total network of social support were significantly related to usual dyspnea, and pulmonary group, gender, and attendance at Better Breathers classes were significantly related to worst dyspnea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchitis / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology*
  • Dyspnea / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Physical Exertion
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / physiopathology
  • Sex Factors


  • Air Pollutants